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Merit badges at summer camps

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Interesting that you bring up this subject.

Are you a scout or adult leader?

When I went to summer camp 30+ years ago it was a lot of time and work to get three merit badges in the week that you were there.

At camp this year we had one boy get 8 and another with 7!

I have been told that one scout got Aviation in about 30 minutes. I think that this is a little quick.

I was unable to attend camp this summer, but I think that you are correct in your assumption.

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That is a matter that needs to be brought to the attention of the Camp Director. Are they scouts themselves teaching the badge? Are they at least 18yo as Merit Badge Counselors are required to be according to BSA regs? If not, why do camps get away with it and why do we as leaders have to be qualified to be a Merit Badge Counselor? Aviation is 30 mins? That doesn't do the boys any good. I work in Aviation and I wish I could have learned Bernulli's Principle alone in 30 mins. Why even have merit badges if they handed out like candy at Halloween. This is how we end up with all the 12 and 13 year old Eagles. This camp you talk of, Does the council it is located in produce an unusual amount of Eagles? My guess is, They do.


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I'm a scout. Thats the scary pART YOU WOULD THINK I WOULD WANT THEM TO BE EASY BUT after awhile it gets boring. I mean if you do any pre reqs, its a waste of time cause all that hard work went to waste. I mean if you go to summer camp to learn something not to have a merit badge given to you because they just feel nice that week.

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Yep! My Son got 5 this summer and wife and I had the same....doubts about the program. He brought no material home to exhibit that anything of value took place. And he talked of Scouts being the MB Councillors. I think it is a BIG problem!!!

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I agree that summer camp merit badge requirements seem to be "relaxed." I questioned my son about some of the things he did for the badges, and I don't feel comfortable that the integrity of the requirements was maintained. My son was very proud of his accomplishments, and I didn't want him to feel as though he didn't deserve the badges he thought he earned. I just don't feel he did everything he should have to get the badge.

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In my 20 years of being a SM I have seen this kind of thing before. After a couple of times I adopted a policy that the other leaders and Troop Committee would review the requirements completed as well as talk with the Scout to determine if he truly did complete things or if it was just rubber stamped.

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In our council the past few years we

have started a merit badge mentoring

program for our summer camp. The

mentors are adult merit badge

counselors who provide guidance and

resources in their area of expertise.

Our summer camp is made up of

several subcamps and their was some

concern about making sure the merit

badge material was being covered

thoroughly and consistently through

out all of camp. The actual mentoring takes place during staff

training week and starts with a

breakfast and deviding of the staff

up by areas to then work with the

volunteer mentors for those areas.

For Example: Aquatics, Ecology,

Scoutcraft, Shooting Sports etc.

The mentoring also involves former

staff volunteering to mentor the new

staff. In my experience someone

under 18 can teach a merit badge as

well or better than some adults.

They get real good at it as the summer progresses along.

The camp staff are all provided with

a folder with the current merit badge

requirements, previous course syllibi

and a blank syllibi to taylor to their own schedule. A big part of

our role as mentors is to offer

encouragement, resources and handouts

and to share teaching methods, ideas

and props.

I usually will visit the staff that

I helped mentor earlier in the summer

when my Troop is in camp. They really appreciate the extra help with

the merit badge sessions and also

constructive praise or critisism on

their efforts. This summer I had a

staff counselor Thank me for making

his classes this summer a fun and

rewarding experience. He really

appreciated some additional handouts

that were sent up to camp as the

summer progressed along.

You should always monitor the merit

badge classes that your Scouts have

signed up for and make sure the

requirements and material along with

additional outside class requirements

are being followed up on by your Scouts. For example: Astronomy - Are

they observing the night sky and are

the conditions clear for viewing the

night sky. If not then those Scouts

should end up with a partial in

Astronomy merit badge.

I hope this helps with improving

merit badge standards at your summer

camps for next year. Your camp

director needs to support this effort

along with having area directors 18

or older to sign the actual merit badge cards for the underage counselors in their areas.

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